California-based Mammoth Biosciences has signed a powerful partner for its development of a CRISPR-based test for COVID-19, which would aim to deliver accurate, fast results using a handheld, disposable testing platform. Mammoth Biosciences will be using its DETECTR platform to develop the test, which recently received validation through a peer-reviewed study published in Nature.
Already, Mammoth has its DETECTR platform under evaluation by the FDA for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), and partnering with GSK and its consumer healthcare division sets up Mammoth to potentially scale its development and distribution to widespread commercial and consumer availability. Mammoth and GSK aim to have a COVID-19-specific test based on DETECTR ready for FDA evaluation before the end of this year.
The goal is to make it available first to healthcare facilities in the U.S. It can provide a lot of advantages versus current solutions for health facility testing, since it provides results in less than 20 minutes and can be conducted fully on site using a nasal swab collected from a patient. It’s also fully disposable, making it more convenient and ultimately safer for healthcare professionals to use.
After that, the partners plan to expand availability, ultimately offering the test direct to consumers for over-the-counter use. The nature of the test means it’s not much more difficult to administer than many other at-home diagnostics, which could further reduce the risk of transmission for infected individuals and make tests much more accessible and widespread.
Note that this likely won’t happen before at least next year given the current development timeline, but given the nature of the ongoing global pandemic, it definitely seems like we’ll still be interested in expanding testing capabilities as one of our ongoing strategies of mitigating the impact of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.